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Trading places

Accessing land in African cities

Article image

Mark Napier, Stephen Berrisford, Caroline Wanjiku Kihato, Rob McGaffin, Lauren Royston

01 January 2013

Helene Perold and Philanie Jooste


Mark Napier, Urban LandMark Librarian


Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Urban LandMark

South Africa

Trading Places is about a new understanding of how people living in African cities access land and renegotiate real estate markets. It explores how local practice, land governance and markets interact to shape the ways that people at society's margins access land to build their livelihoods.

Rather than developing new policies that aim to supply land and housing formally but with little effect on the scale of the need, Trading Places advocates an alternative approach that recognises the local practices that already exist in land access and management. In this way, the agency of the poor is strengthened, and households and communities are better able to integrate into urban economies.

This resource is the result of seven years of work developing pro-poor interventions to make urban land markets work better. The work included building up a new body of evidence, engaging in policy change processes, broad-based stakeholder engagement, and testing the new approach in different sites. It is a collective effort by a range of people working with Urban Land Markets Programme, Southern Africa.


Website References


Human settlements


Land administration

Land management

Land value





Poverty & inequality


South Africa




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